Written by Maddy Costa in conversation with and edited by Leo Kay and Anna Smith.
Maddy: This might be too simplistic, but is it in peer situations where you find yourself unconsciously replicating structures of everyone getting on with it, and care being offered only up to a point, whereas in facilitation settings there's a more conscious desire to protect the participants [that is, people who are not full-time practising artists] from the impositions of existing social structures?
Leo: Absolutely, and what complicates it is when you're working with peers on autobiographical (often destabilizing) content. I want to treat them as equals, but that gets complicated because then I'm saying: I want you to take responsibility for yourself as much as I'm going to take responsibility for myself.
Maddy: 'Equal' is a difficult word. Is the equality we're talking about a genuine equality of diversity, or is it the equality of white male existence? Is it the equality of everyone basically being self-sufficient and basically being able to deal with any scenario, or the equality of everyone actually being fucked up and everyone needing care and everyone needing quite a lot of support? Those are two completely different equalities. And I suspect that in facilitation processes, it's the latter equality that you're addressing, and in peer processes it's the former – and that's what the tension is.
Leo: I see what you're saying and I think you're right in that there is a difference in the level of consideration of care between professional projects and the facilitation of non-professionals which we need to reconcile.